Northern Ontario not just province’s playground – by Ron Grech (Sudbury Star – September 21, 2011)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Ron Grech is a reporter for The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at

Those of us who settled in the North, after growing up in southern Ontario, are likely conscious of the drastic change in mindset that occurs from living here.

Back when we were brushing through crowds in the concrete jungles of downtown Toronto, watching for cars as we hurriedly crossed the street, always keeping track of the time, pristine forests and clean lakes seemed like a scene out of paradise.

Everyone had some friends, relatives or acquaintances who boasted about their cottage in the Muskokas. In summers, they would join the mad weekend rush northward. If they left early enough, they might spend 36 hours at the cottage before they got back onto the jam-packed Highway 400 for the frustratingly slow return home.

For those in the Greater Toronto Area, Northern Ontario represents an expansive park offering peace and tranquility from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

That is why it has always been an easy sell for special interest groups to present resource-based industries as an enemy that threatens Ontario’s paradise.

What do southerners know about forestry and mining, other than they’re jarringly noisy industries that remove trees and tear holes in the ground?

For southerners, automakers, factories, banks and firms that employ men in business suits are key drivers of the Ontario economy — not forestry or mining.

Unfortunately for us, provincial politicians know where the bulk of the votes come from.

If they want power, their primary focus is to appeal to the urbanized clusters that hold a myopic view of Northern Ontario.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Sudbury Star website: